While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 7


Hurricane Irma slams into Caribbean islands, heads towards Puerto Rico

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, cut a deadly swathe through a string of small Caribbean islands and was on a collision course with Puerto Rico and potentially south Florida.

At least two people died on the French Caribbean islands of St Barts and St Martin and French President Emmanuel Macron said that while it was too early to come up with a final toll from the rare Category Five storm, it would be “harsh and cruel.”

The island of Barbuda - part of the twin island nation of Antigua and Barbuda - was without communications for hours after the storm made landfall there, but President Gaston Browne said damage did not appear to be as much as feared.

As of 1800 GMT (2am on Thursday, Singapore time), the eye of the storm was over the British Virgin Islands and the hurricane was moving west-northwest towards the US territory of Puerto Rico at 26kmh.

Irma was packing maximum sustained winds of up to 295kmh as it followed a projected path that would see it hit Puerto Rico, the northern edges of the Dominican Republic and Haiti and eastern Cuba before veering north for Florida.


US demands crippling new North Korea sanctions

The United States demanded an oil embargo on North Korea and a freeze on the foreign assets of leader Kim Jong-Un, in a dramatic bid to force an end to the perilous nuclear stand-off.

A draft US-authored resolution submitted to the UN Security Council would go far beyond seven previous rounds of sanctions – and would rock Kim’s isolated authoritarian regime. The draft, obtained by AFP, demands not only an oil embargo and a freeze on any assets Kim holds abroad, but also a ban on textile exports and an end to payments made to North Korean guest workers.

China has long been reluctant to take measures that could trigger instability or a refugee exodus on its frontier, and Russian has already dismissed calls for an oil embargo.


DNA tests show woman who sought Salvador Dali exhumation is not his daughter

A DNA test on the exhumed remains of Salvador Dali show he is not the father of a Spanish psychic claiming to be his illegitimate daughter, the Dali Foundation said.

A court had ordered Dali’s exhumation to settle the paternity suit lodged by Maria Pilar Abel, who would have been entitled to a share of his vast fortune if she was found to be his daughter.

“The DNA tests show that Pilar Abel is not Dali’s daughter,” the foundation, which had tried to stop the exhumation, said in a statement.


Tennis: Rafael Nadal advances to US Open semi-finals

World number one Rafa Nadal provided Russian teenager Andrey Rublev with a tennis lesson on Wednesday, racing into the semi-finals of the US Open with a ruthless 6-1 6-2 6-2 win.

The 19-year-old, who grew up idolising Nadal and had the Spaniard’s poster pinned up on his bedroom wall, was smiling from ear-to-ear as he posed for pre-match photos on Arthur Ashe Stadium court with his hero.

That would be the highlight of an eye-opening afternoon for the Russian youngster as Nadal showed no mercy during a one hour, 37 minute thrashing.


More Clooney babies? Not likely, says Amal Clooney

After welcoming twins earlier this year and mastering the art of changing diapers, George Clooney and wife, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney are not looking to expand their brood further.

Clooney, 56, spoke candidly in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter, published on Wednesday, about becoming "a very good diaper guy" and the pressures of being a first-time father to twins Alexander and Ella, born in June in London.

When Amal Clooney was asked if she wanted to have more children, the reporter said, her response was a negative shake of the head. "I'm 39," Amal Clooney said. "I already had them quite late."